When you admire someone and believe that the way that they live is the way you would like to live, you begin to shape your behaviour according to how you think they might behave. For example, the person you admire wakes up early and goes for a run. You try to do the same (if you’re like me, you fail and feel guilty). They read certain authors, so you buy a book from that author (maybe get a few pages in and lose interest).
A person I admire is Eugene Peterson, who passed away in 2018. He was a pastor’s pastor. A favourite quote from him is that a pastor is a person in the community who pays attention and draws attention to what God is doing. I have read several of his books and much of his paraphrase of the Bible. I’ve read his memoir and his biography and listened to many of his lectures. One of the things that stuck out to me is how he does not want anyone to live as he does. He hated being famous. He wanted people to become who they are; who God made them to be.
Mimicking others will get you to a certain point, but everyone needs to become more of who they really are rather than becoming like someone else.
The way we become who we really are, Peterson suggests, is through prayer. And so, when people would come to him for advice or in the midst of a crisis, he would most likely teach them how to pray.
I have found this to be true. In a season of more intentional and regular prayer, spending not just minutes but hours in prayer throughout the week, I find that I see more clearly, listen more closely, and respond more graciously. I believe that I am made to be a contemplative, thoughtful, and insightful person. But, I am so often the exact opposite of those things when my prayers are shallow and hurried. I become harsh, dismissive and arrogant when I am not meeting God daily to fill my soul with his love and my mind with his words.
This week, a colleague recommended an app that I had never heard of. I think it is a good app for prayer, but I’ve only begun to use it, so I’ll give it a proper review maybe once I’ve used it for a month. It’s called Pause by John Eldredge. Let me know if you try it out.
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